Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Doña Margarita Pinot Noir 2005 from Marimar Estate

In 1985, Marimar Torres bought an estate in Green Valley in the cooler western part of Russian River Valley. Beginning the year after, vineyards were planted, and Marimar took courses in viticulture and oenology at UC Davis. She harvested the first Chardonnay grapes in 1989, and made a wine that was very elegant and pleasant to drink, even after 10 years!

During the early 90s, only two wines were made, a Chardonnay and a Pinot Noir, both in a quite classic and European style with crisp acidity, moderate alcohol and less oak that most Californian chardonnays. Although Marimar told me she only wanted to make these two wines, to be able to give full attenation to each wine, the now 25.80 hectare Don Miguel Vineyard wanted something else. So, more wines were added to the list.
In 1998 the richer reserve styled Dobles Lías Chardonnay were first made, and 2002 the top selection and more structured Cristina Pinot Noir was added. The finest selections of pinots are the rare Pinot Noir Earthquake Block (first made in 2003) and Pinot Noir Stony Block (2004) from two single blocks at higher elevation in the Don Miguel Vineyard.
As many vintners in Sonoma, Marimar had looked towards the cooler Sonoma Coast for many years, when she bought a beautiful 69 hectare ranch in Freestone, and started to plant 8.10 hectares with Pinot Noir in 2001. It’s called Doña Margarita Vineyard after her mother (Don Miguel was her father, one of the most legendary vintners in Spain), and gives today the best pinot in the range.
One feature in Marimar Torres vineyards, is the high density, 5 700 vines per hectare rather than 2 000 to 3 000 vines per hectare which is more common in California. To Marimar and her vineyard manager Ventura, the high density results in lower yields per vine and therefore higher flavor intensity in the grapes. Still, elegance is the hey word here, not power!
I have always enjoyed the pinots of Marimar Torres, just for their finesse, elegant fruit flavors and classic structure. And they normally keep very well in the cellar, which also is good if you like the complex secondary aromas i a fully mature wine. However, something has happened and vintages 2002, 2003 and 2004 are not impressive, rather earthy and rough. But with the 2005 vintage, things seem to have changed to the better.
Production reaches up to 12 000 cases per year.

2005 Doña Margarita Pinot Noir / 92-94 p
This may well be the finest pinot ever produced at Marimar Estate. It’s a pure Pinot Noir, of course, from only four year old vines in Freestone in the cool Sonoma Coast. Fashioned in the same way as the other pinots of Marimar Torres and her winemaker Tony Britton, it tastes different due to different growing conditions. You may well think about this wine as a hybrid of a Vosne-Romanée and Morey-Saint-Denis, but of course it’s much more Californian, especially in the structure. As expected, it doesn’t have the same mineral notes, fresh acidity and firm tannins as its burgundian counterparts. However, the wine is stuffed with the same kind of morels and dark cherries as expected in wines from the mentioned villages in Burgundy, also with just a slight touch of higher red berry notes. Also, there are some earthy qualities, but still the wine is primarily very purely fruity, elegant och young. Acidity is good rather than fresh and lively, and tannins kind of silky. At this stage, the wine is a bit closed, and therefore its aftertaste is relatively short, but very good indeed. The good news is that is opens up with some air, and I recommend it the be served in a typical Burgundy glass. The wine would benefit from being served at 15-16 degrees.
Drink it 2010-2015.

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